Greenwich Borough boss Gary Alexander backs Leyton Orient to enjoy 2017 a lot more

Paul McCallum celebrates after putting Leyton Orient three goals ahead against Crawley Town (pic: Si

Paul McCallum celebrates after putting Leyton Orient three goals ahead against Crawley Town (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

Former O’s striker looks ahead to January 2 fixture between east Londoners and Exeter City

It is safe to say 2016 has been a year to forget for Leyton Orient, but former player Gary Alexander is hoping the next 12 months will bring success.

The ex-O’s forward joined the club in January 2003 and helped fire them to promotion from League Two in the famous 2005/06 campaign.

Alexander has had split loyalties recently, however, with Orient facing one of his old clubs Crawley Town on Boxing Day and set to travel to another on Monday (January 2) in the shape of Exeter City.

Even though 2016 has been one to forget for the O’s and supporters, the 37-year-old believes Andy Edwards can turn things around at Brisbane Road with the help of assistant manager Danny Webb.

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“I know ‘Webby’ and played with him at Hull City. I see him around on the circuit at matches so we always have a catch up,” said Alexander.

“Andy is somebody I’ve seen at games and having gone back to Orient a few times over the years, he is somebody I’ve got to know. They are two good fellas and I’m sure they will turn it around.”

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What would help O’s cause is a few more wins over the next week after beating Crawley Town 3-2 at Brisbane Road on Monday afternoon.

Orient are preparing to take on a couple of in-form teams in the space of a few days with Cambridge United visiting east London on Saturday for a 1pm kick-off.

Edwards takes his squad to Exeter City on Monday for their first match of 2017 and again it pits O’s against one of Alexander’s old clubs.

The Greenwich Borough boss spent the 1999/2000 season with the Grecians and knows it’s a difficult match for the east Londoners.

Alexander added: “Exeter took me on loan from West Ham when I was 19 and I have good memories because we survived a relegation battle, so that was great.

“It’s another club where I have friends and I still speak to the person who put me in a lodge there.

“They have won a few games now so are only six or seven points outside the play-offs and it’s such a tight league. Anybody can make the play-offs if you put a run together.”

It wasn’t long ago, November 22 to be precise, that Orient and Exeter City faced each other at Brisbane Road with the visitors in the drop zone and the hosts just above it.

An away win that night moved the Grecians out of the bottom two and it brought Italian Alberto Cavasin’s time in charge of O’s to an end.

There is no doubt in Alexander’s mind that both of his old clubs can finish the campaign closer to the top than the basement.

“Exeter and Orient have some really talented players and a nice mix of youngsters and senior pros,” said O’s former number nine.

“All they have been lacking is confidence, but if they win a few games and get on a run, they will climb the table.”

When Orient and Exeter face off at St James Park on Monday, Alexander will be in Sittingbourne hoping to watch his Greenwich Borough pick up crucial points in Ryman South.

If any O’s fans do not fancy the long trip to Devon and would rather a shorter journey to Kent, two of their ex-players would appreciate the support.

Alexander added: “We’ve had a few visitors this season from the Orient and even people who supported us from our time at the club.

“John (Mackie) and I always say we’re only through the Blackwall Tunnel, so if the O’s are away and people can’t go, they’re more than welcome to watch us at Greenwich!”

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